As I stand on the threshold of a new chapter in my life, anticipating my surrender to the Hazelton federal prison camp on November 30, 2023, I find myself reflecting on the remarkable journey that has brought me to this point. At the age of 71, I am filled with a deep sense of purpose and a commitment to use my time behind bars to bring value to the lives of others, just as my parents did for me.
My story is deeply rooted in the sacrifices and determination of my parents, Dawood and Mariam. They brought our family of eight from Baghdad to America in pursuit of greater opportunities, even though we had little in the way of resources. With unwavering resolve, they worked tirelessly to open doors for their children, hoping to provide us with a brighter future.
I vividly recall the days when all seven of my siblings and I worked side by side in the small grocery store that my father started. We shared a modest two-bedroom house, and it was in those close quarters that we learned the value of unity, hard work, and perseverance. My father, a hard working entrepreneur, became my role model, showcasing the importance of grit and determination in the face of adversity.
As I prepare for my 28-month sentence in Hazelton, I am reminded that my life’s journey has been a journey of building businesses, but now, my business is life itself. I am retired, grateful to my daughter Dina for working to keep our family business growing. I am proud to say that she is gifted, more capable than I could be.
Now, my mission is to help others find their purpose and grow stronger through crisis. I want to inspire and uplift those I meet along this unexpected path, just as my father inspired me with his relentless dedication to his family. Serving others is the way that I can serve my memories of my parents.
My father’s strength and resilience serve as a guiding light as I embark on this new phase of my life. His ability to overcome challenges and provide for our family, even in the face of limited resources, remains a powerful source of inspiration. It is with his example in mind that I strive to emulate his determination and steadfastness.
While I’m in Hazelton, I aim to live as a role model for others, demonstrating the importance of grit and perseverance in the midst of crisis. I believe that our greatest growth often occurs when we face adversity head-on. Just as my parents worked tirelessly to create a better future for their children, I want to show those around me that even in challenging circumstances, we can find purpose, strength, and resilience.
My goal during this period is to build bridges of hope and resilience, offering support and encouragement to others who live with the challenge of their own struggles. By sharing my story, the lessons I’ve learned, and the inspiration I’ve drawn from my family’s journey, I hope to ignite a sense of determination and purpose in those who may feel lost or disheartened.
During this crisis of my own making, I will carry with me the legacy of my parents’ sacrifices and the strength of their example. My life’s mission has evolved into a commitment to help others find their purpose and grow stronger through adversity. My journey will be a testament to the enduring power of determination, unity, and faith in the face of life’s challenges. It is my hope that, just as my parents’ sacrifices paved the way for my opportunities, my actions will inspire and uplift those who walk this path with me, demonstrating that even in crisis, we can find meaning, strength, and the potential for a brighter future.